Top 5 Best Mulch For Playground Reviews (2021 Updated)

best Mulch For Playground reviews

Playground mulch provides a protective surface for outdoor play areas, where there is a high risk of falling or injuries. However, choosing the best mulch for playgrounds for your kids is difficult since there are many types of mulch on the market.

This article will provide an in-depth review of the 5 best-rated mulch that is widely used for playgrounds. I hope that the following information will help parents pick up a mulch model that is safe and comfortable for kids.

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Top 5 Best Mulch For Playground 2021

Product ImageProduct NameFeaturesPrice
Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets for PlaygroundsWide color choicesSee latest Price
NuScape Red Playground Rubber MulchRemarkable fall height ratingSee latest Price
NuPlay Playground Rubber NuggetSmall size to reduce choke hazardsSee latest Price
KIDWISE Playground Rubber MulchGreater impact absorptionSee latest Price
American Floor Mats Rubber Mulch for PlaygroundsIPEMA and ASTM certifiedSee latest Price

In-depth 5 Top Rated Mulch For Playground Reviews

1. Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets for Playgrounds – Wide color choices

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Quickly dry and never freezing in winter, Playsafer rubber mulch is the best mulch to use for playgrounds for all weather conditions.

Depending on your playground’s acreage and purpose, you can pick up a mulch size from 1.55 to 77 cubic feet. For example, for a residential play area of 60 square feet, you need to cover it with 400 pounds of mulch at a depth of 3 feet.

This playground mulch is available in 6 colors (red, blue, black, brown, etc.). You can choose a single color or add more fun to the kid’s play area by mixing several colors altogether.

Safety is a vital criterion when thinking about playground mulch. These Playsafer mulch nuggets are made from old car tires and are 99,99% metal-free, so it’s more eco-friendly and safer for your kids and the environment than wood mulch.

By using rubber mulch, you and your family have contributed to the tire recycling solution. Moreover, it meets the IPEMA certification to reduce injury risks in kid’s playground environments.

Last but not least, these colorful mulch nuggets are durable and affordable. As stated by the manufacturer, these nuggets are produced using the highest quality materials to last bright for 12 years with no fading or rubbing off on kid’s skin,  toys, or clothes.

They also will not decompose or compress, so you will not need to reapply them again and again.

Pros Cons
  • Wide color choices
  • Color guarantee; Last for 12 years
  • Eco-friendly
  • Might produce an annoying rubber smell on hot days

2. NuScape Red Playground Rubber Mulch – Remarkable fall height rating

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According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 200,000 children in the U.S are treated in hospitals for playground-related issues annually. NuScape Red Mulch is a reliable choice to let kids’ creativity blossom while ensuring they are always well-protected.

As of CPSC, you should cover your home playmat with a depth of 12 inches of mulch. A mulch bag can cover 0.8 cubic feet. You can pick up one or several bags of mulch, depending on how large your area is.

This IPEMA-certified rubber mulch is considered safe for playgrounds with a fall height rating of up to 16 feet, double the wood mulch’s fall height rating.

Therefore, this groundcover offers a superior shock-absorbing capacity, thus reducing injury risks and putting less force on the joints and bones of destructive kids.

These rubber pieces are denser and heavier than wood, making it hard to be blown away on a windy day or washed away after a hard rainfall. Although they cost more per square foot than wood fiber, they can maintain their bright color for 12 years with low maintenance effort.

Pros Cons
  • Made of 100% recycled rubber
  • Remarkable fall height rating
  • Require low maintenance effort
  • IPEMA certified
  • Much more expensive than natural wood mulch
  • Only available in red color

3. NuPlay Playground Rubber Nugget – Small size to reduce choke hazards

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These NuPlay Rubber Nuggets are versatile for various purposes around your house. You can use them to enhance the natural look of your property or treat them as bedding to retain moisture and soil for your plants and flowers. You can even use them to set up a soft and safe play area under your 5-year-old’s swing set.

Why do I choose synthetic mulch over cedar mulch, cypress mulch, or wood chips?

Because rubber nuggets like NuPlay provide a 200%-700% better fall height, head impact, and injury protection than those natural wood mulch types. Rubber playground mulch doesn’t need to be replaced every year, reducing my maintenance cost and effort.

Another reason that persuaded me to choose this NuPlay mulch is its appropriate sizing. Since this mulch is available in small pieces, it helps potentially reduce choke hazards in kids.

Another valuable piece of information for parents – this mulch also meets the ASTM F3012 standard of ASTM International for loose-fill rubber to use as a safe playground covering.

Pros Cons
  • Natural color choices
  • 200-700% better in fall height, head impact, and injury protection than wood mulch
  • Meet ASTM F3012 standard
  • Not cheap

4. KIDWISE Playground Rubber Mulch – Greater impact absorption

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This KIDWISE Rubber Mulch is a fantastic alternative to some other playground materials on the market. It’s a loose type of rubber playground cover that absorbs more impact than conventional rubber mulch. Each pallet can cover up to 300 square feet 3 inches deep.

Complying with the ASTM 1292.99 guidelines on surfacing safety, this playground mulch can protect your kids when falling from a height of 5 feet (with a covering area of 3 inches deep) or 12 feet (with a covering area of 6 inches deep).

This play surface functions similar to wood chips but not cutting or breaking your kids’ hands and legs when they fall.

There are two drawbacks of this cedar red mulch. First, this mulch is harder to keep clean than rubber tiles since it can easily hold bacteria and dirt. Second,  it tends to be too hot on sunny days due to the recycled rubber tires it is made of.

Pros Cons
  • Loose-fill rubber mulch with greater impact absorption
  • Comply with the ASTM 1292.99 guidelines
  • Hard to keep clean than traditional rubber mulch
  • Tend to heat up under the sun

5. American Floor Mats Rubber Mulch for Playgrounds –  IPEMA and ASTM certified

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Proudly made in the USA, American Floor Rubber Mulch is a wise choice to protect your destructive on hyper-active outdoor activities on swings or slides. Since this synthetic mulch is 5 times heavier than wood mulch, it will not blow away.

This rubber material from American Floor Mats can also drain water and moisture better than the above KIDSWISE loose-fill item, so the playground will always stay clean and dry.

In addition, it does not attract harmful insects like carpenter ants, termites, or bugs, so it’s safe for kids, adults, pets, and animals.

This mulch is also the only item on this top list that meets IPEMA and ASTM – two trustworthy certifications on playground safety.

Pros Cons
  • Made in the USA
  • Meets IPEMA and ASTM certifications
  • Easy installation
  • No specific complaints

Final Words

Rubber mulch, like Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets, can last up to 12 years and requires little maintenance, making it the best mulch for playground or gardening purposes. However, rubber mulch is pretty expensive, especially if you install it in a large area. If you have a limited budget, you can switch to free wood chips for playground surfaces.

Likewise, you can choose some of the best types of wood to use as playground mulch, such as cedar or cypress. These wood types can act as natural insect repellents to prevent the attacks of termites and pests.

The pitfalls of this natural mulch material are that it requires replacement every 1 to 3 years. Its color quickly fades over time. Plus, weed and mold can grow on it.

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